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With more than 75 cookbooks to her name, baking queen Mary Berry has been inspiring budding cooks since the Seventies. Get to grips with three easy-to-follow, simple-to-make recipes from her latest book, Classic – family satisfaction guaranteed

“For me, ingredients are the star of the show and a classic dish is one that shows them off to their best advantage, with the maximum flavour and minimum fuss.”


“I love being able to share my knowledge, it is a huge passion of mine, which is why I love writing cookbooks. I don’t want to do complicated recipes and I want to use ingredients that you are likely to have in the cupboard. Life is all about sharing. If we’re good at something, let’s pass it on and that is the pleasure I get. I love it when someone gives me a little envelope with a recipe for their granny’s fruit cake. You think, ‘How nice and generous.’ We should all share.

“All of the recipes in my books are tried out at home. My family tell me what they think. And yes, of course I do take constructive criticism! The children might say ‘Oh yuck’ or someone might say ‘That takes too long to do’, and they don’t go in the book. But I make sure there aren’t too many of those!

“The recipes in this new collection lie at the very heart of my cooking. They are my essential dishes – those that will always be in my repertoire.

Things like my classic crème brûlée, Pistou pasta made with a classic Provençal sauce of basil, garlic and oil – similar to pesto but without the pine nuts – and my recipe for the gooiest of brownies. Moist and soft, and ideal as a decadent dessert to serve with ice cream, they don't contain flour, so are perfect for anyone who can't tolerate gluten.

“Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t eat a lot of cake. It’s all about a balanced diet. I eat very little sugar myself, except when it is in a cake or fruit bar. I have always said a small slice of cake is a wonderful treat.”

Recipes taken from Mary Berry’s Classic, published by BBC Books to tie in with Mary’s BBC One TV series of the same name



Pistou linguine

Mary’s top tip: “Roll the lemon on a board before squeezing to get the most juice from it. The Parmesan really thickens the sauce so it coats the pasta. For a thinner sauce, reserve some extra pasta water and add more than two tablespoons when you make the sauce.”

Serves 4-6 as a main dish
Cook time: 10 minutes

300g linguine pasta
25g butter
500g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
75g Parmesan cheese, grated

For the pistou sauce
4 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp roughly chopped basil
2 tbsp roughly snipped chives
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon (see tip)
200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the pistou sauce, place the herbs, garlic, lemon juice and crème fraîche in a food processor and whizz until the herbs are finely chopped. Season well with salt and pepper.

Cook the linguine in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving two tablespoons of the pasta cooking water (see tip).

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a deep frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for about one to two minutes. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for three minutes, then remove the lid and fry over a high heat until golden and all the liquid has evaporated. Spoon the mushrooms into a bowl.

Add the pistou sauce and the reserved pasta water to the frying pan and heat until just boiling. Tip in the cooked pasta, season with salt and pepper and toss until coated and warmed through. Remove from the heat, add most of the Parmesan and mushrooms and toss to combine.

Tip into a bowl, scatter with the remaining Parmesan and mushrooms and taste for seasoning.


Warm fondant brownies

Mary’s top tip: “It’s best to leave the cooked brownies in the tin, rather than trying to turn them over and peel off the baking paper. They are so gooey, the beautiful crust will be crushed if they are over-handled. Slice straight from the tin, and use a palette knife to remove each square.”

Makes 16 brownies
Cook time: 30-35 minutes, plus cooling

350g (12oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250g (9oz) butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
300g (11oz) dark muscovado sugar
6 eggs
75g (3oz) ground almonds

You will need a 23x30cm traybake tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4, then grease the tin with butter and line with baking paper.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, add the butter and set over a small saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat through until runny and melted.

Measure the sugar into a bowl, add the eggs and whisk until all the sugar has been incorporated. Carefully pour in the melted chocolate mixture and stir until evenly mixed, then fold in the ground almonds and gently stir to combine.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30–35 minutes, or until a light crust forms on top and the mixture is firm around the edges but still soft in the middle.

Leave to cool in the tin, to let the brownies set, then cut into squares (see tip) and serve with ice cream.


Crème brûlée

Mary’s top tip: “Try to pour the custard mix into the ramekins without splashing, otherwise the splashes will burn on the sides of the ramekins during cooking, when you’re aiming for a beautiful clean finish.”

Serves 6
Cook time: 25–30 minutes
Chilling time: A minimum of four hours

Butter, for greasing
4 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml single cream
300ml double cream
50g demerara sugar

You will need six 125ml ramekins. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas 3 and grease the ramekins with a little butter.

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl, add the caster sugar and vanilla extract and whisk together by hand.

Heat the single and double cream together in a saucepan until hand hot, then gradually pour into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture, whisking until combined. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a large jug, to strain out any lumps, then carefully pour into the ramekins, dividing the mixture evenly among them (see tip).

Put the ramekins into a small roasting tin lined with kitchen paper or a folded cloth (to prevent the dishes from moving around in the tray), then pour enough boiling water into the tin to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Carefully slide the tin into the oven and bake for about 25–30 minutes or until nearly set but with a slight wobble in the middle. Leave to cool in the tin, then transfer to the fridge to chill until set for four hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, sprinkle the demerara sugar on top of the custard in an even layer. Using a cook’s blowtorch, heat the tops until caramelised and golden brown, or caramelise the tops under a hot grill.

Serve as soon as the caramel has cooled and become brittle.

Photographer: Georgia Glynn Smith / Editor: Emma Sleight

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